SO SMUG IT HURTS

So I was flicking through the property pages of the local paper – I’m not one of those people who obsesses about clambering to the top of the property ladder but I do occasionally indulge in a daydream about owning a house with a swimming pool. I like swimming. Anyway, I stumbled across a full page advert from fineandcountry.com advertising a £4.5 million property in Radlett which looks like it has a lovely swimming pool. And then I read the advert’s copy and well…

For a life of light luxury and elegance

Entering the exclusive private lane that leads to The Leys you can only feel that you are in a place of success and attainment. Private, secure and surrounded by opulent fittings the full height entrance hall is a magnificent statement of a high achiever. When you own The Leys it tells your friends and family that you have arrived at a place in life that says “ I’m happy!”.
Contemporary style and dramatic statements are evident in every room.  Ultimately this house is about lifestyle and expectations of what should be delivered at this level. The pool with gym, games room and entertainment area have been designed by the current owner to provide for entertaining fun parties relaxation and fitness. The perfect design for a family who want seclusion yet warmth and freedom.

The initial vision and brief by the current owner, who created and designed the property, was to create a benchmark family home full of light and naturally flowing elegance. The end result we feel has achieved this beyond expectations.

It’s not the poor punctuation – the copywriter is obviously a stranger to the serial comma – or the suspect grammar – I’m as much a fan of the sentence fragment as the next guy – that bothers me about this advert.

It’s the smugness.

The horrifying, cloying, all-encompassing smugness of it.

From the moment you approach along “the exclusive private lane” (which private lanes aren’t exclusive?) and enter via the (“full height”) entrance hall that is “a magnificent statement of a high achiever” I’m itching to punch the person who wrote this, the person who owns the house and any fecker who reads this and even thinks about viewing the house. I’m not suggesting that everyone who feels the need to makes a statement about their lifetime achievements through the medium of large vestibules is, necessarily, irredeemably shallow but I’d be willing to take a gamble on the fact that most of them are.

But it gets worse. Because now you can look down on your friends and family and scream “ I’m happy!” – as if they would dare doubt (look that exclamation mark, you’re so sincere) that surrounded by all this opulence and magnificence it was possible feel any emotion other than joy.

“Ultimately this house is about lifestyle and expectation of what should be delivered at this level” the advert tells me.  I’m not sure what that means but it appears to involve “entertaining fun parties” (of course your parties are fun, you own this house, you’ve succeeded, you’ve attained, you’re a winner, people like you don’t throw dull parties). I have no idea why “seclusion” and “warmth and freedom” might be set in opposition to each other, but whoever wrote this obviously feels they don’t often go together (hence the “yet”).

This house is on sale for £4.5 million – that means the estate agent is probably going to earn something between £45,000 and £135,000 when this property is sold. If I was paying someone that amount of money to sell my house, and I read this advert, I’m pretty sure I’d be demanding my money back. And I’d be negotiating with a baseball bat.

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